by Steven Ertelt
March 11, 2005
Little Rock, AR (LifeNews.com) — Members of the Arkansas state Senate have approved legislation that would require abortion practitioners to tell women considering an abortion after 20 weeks into the pregnancy that the procedure causes severe pain for the unborn child.
Under the measure, approved 24-1, women considering an abortion would be given the opportunity to have anesthesia administered to the baby before the abortion takes place.
Women would be given 24 hours to look at the materials describing the baby’s pain and an abortion practitioner must tell her that materials are also available to read on a state-sponsored web site.
Pro-life groups support the bill as a way to reduce the pain of an abortion and with the hopes that, like Right to Know laws, it will inform women and encourage them to opt against an abortion.
The legislation is modeled after a newly-proposed federal bill, the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act
Sponsored by Sen. Shawn Womack, a Republican from Mountain Home, the bill now heads to the state House for consideration.
"Obviously, there is a possibility that some women, upon being fully informed, will decide not to terminate the life of the unborn child," Womack told the Baxter Bulletin newspaper.
Womack said that anesthesia is routinely given to unborn child of such an age during operations conducted on babies before birth.
Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand, a pediatrician at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, said he believes unborn children suffer "severe and excruciating" pain because "the fetus is conscious" during the abortion procedure.
Dr. David Stevens, director of the Christian Medical Association, agrees and said that "medical evidence shows that a partial-birth abortion inflicts cruel and horrific pain on a conscious baby."